When a baby has persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), their blood vessels do not open up enough to send oxygen to the necessary organs. This can cause serious problems for the newborn and requires emergency treatment. If your doctor failed to recognize the risk factors for PPHN or delayed the diagnosis of your newborn, you may be able to hold them liable.
You can get a free case review from a birth injury attorney near you by calling Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at 1-800-222-9529. You may be able to pursue damages in a civil lawsuit with no out-of-pocket costs to your family.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Lawsuits & Injury Cases
If your baby had a PPHN diagnosis and required treatment for the condition, an attorney in your state can review your case and determine if medical negligence and malpractice played a role. They can also:
- Help identify the liable parties, often the doctor and/or hospital
- Explain any deadlines that may apply
- Request copies of relevant medical records
- Build a strong case to prove negligence (prove your doctor failed to uphold the standard of care)
- Work with a medical expert witness to understand the acceptable standard of care and how this compares with the standard of care your doctor provided
If your attorney can build a strong case against the doctor or another liable party, you may be able to recover damages that include all the medical care your child requires for PPHN and any lasting effects from the condition. You could also recover compensation for out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering losses, and more.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Overview
PPHN occurs when a newborn’s circulation reverts to the circulation of a fetus. As a baby develops in the womb, oxygen passes from the mother through the placenta and umbilical cord to the baby. The lungs are not in use for the most part, so the body’s circulation skips them.
Once a baby is born and begins to breathe in air, the circulation changes and begins to move more blood to the lungs. With PPHN, the blood flow to the lungs is not adequate, and this limits how much oxygenated blood makes it to the brain and vital organs.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Causes
PPHN occurs most commonly after a long, difficult birth or in babies who suffer birth asphyxia. There is no known cause, but there are several contributing factors:
- Mothers who nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs late in pregnancy
- Mothers who took selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) late in pregnancy
- Stress during delivery
- Meconium aspiration syndrome
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Diaphragmatic hernia
- Pneumothorax in the newborn
- Other conditions that could lead to decreased oxygen just before and after delivery
- An infection in the fetus, including pneumonia, sepsis, and other infections
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Symptoms
Common symptoms of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn include:
- The infant seems ill immediately after birth or within hours
- Cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin, lips, and nails indicating a lack of oxygen)
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood oxygen levels despite receiving 100 percent oxygen
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Diagnosis and Treatment
If the medical care team in the hospital where your baby is born notices signs and symptoms of PPHN, they should conduct a thorough physical exam as well as additional testing that may include:
- Blood tests
- Tests to determine oxygen levels
If tests indicate your newborn has PPHN, treatment may include:
- Supplemental oxygen
- Ventilator support, including necessary medications
- Nitric oxide to dilate the blood vessels in the lungs
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby has Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)?
Babies with PPHN usually have apparent issues immediately or in the first hours after birth. They struggle with breathing and require emergency medical support. They may have a bluish tint to the skin.
Can Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) be fatal?
PPHN can be fatal, but prompt treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death.
Who is liable for Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)?
If your doctor or other health care provider fails to take risk factors for PPHN into consideration or delays the diagnosis of PPHN, you may be able to hold them liable for your child’s pain and suffering and other damages. Your attorney can help you identify any and all liable parties based on the facts of your case.
What is the statute of limitations for Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)?
How long you have to pursue legal action in a PPHN medical malpractice case depends on the laws in your state. Your attorney can help you understand the deadlines, if there is tolling because your child was under age 18, or if there is a statute of repose that puts an absolute deadline on how long you can wait.
Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) Glossary Terms
- What is Meconium Aspiration? Meconium aspiration occurs when a baby has their first bowel movement in the womb and breathes it into their lungs.
- What are Retractions? Retractions occur when the skin of the chest sucks in between and under the ribs when a baby inhales. They are common in respiratory distress syndrome and other breathing-related conditions.
- What is Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)? Respiratory distress syndrome is a lung disorder common in premature babies. It is caused by a lack of surfactant to lubricate the air sacs in the lungs.
Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer About Your Child’s PPHN Diagnosis
If your baby was born with PPHN, you may be able to pursue compensation for the expenses and losses related to their condition. A birth injury attorney in your state can review your case and help you understand if medical negligence played a role. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group now at 1-800-222-9529 to get connected.